Shaker Hanging Shelf

February 15, 2021

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Ah yes, that rare unicorn of the Soule Designs forest has finally returned after years of hibernation, the elusive woodworking blog post! This is a pretty small project, just enough to tackle in my down time over the Christmas holiday this past year. Let’s start with a picture of the unfinished piece, know around these parts as “Shaker hanging shelf”.

It's a shelf that hangs from Shaker peg rail!

The drive behind this project came after I remodeled our laundry room during the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020. We replaced some cabinets and made a bit more space along with adding a fresh coat of paint. I also installed the utilitub pictured above, but unfortunately we had no place to put paper towels. We use paper towels when cleaning dog feet after a walk, washing hands, etc. My stopgap solution was that plank of wood across the tub but I always knew there had to be a better way. Enter the Shaker hanging shelf!

Luckily, during the laundry room remodel I put Shaker peg rail all around the perimeter of the room for coats, hats, and anything/everything that can be hung. After a bit of research I found some interesting real world Shaker hanging candle sconces that piqued my interest:

Image from Colonial Sense

With the above website as a guide, I doodled my own plans for a two peg hanging shelf to rest above the utilitub.

Just like drawing comics, most projects start with a rough idea...

The next step was refining my plans and drawing them to scale, and what better way to overcomplicate that process than to head to Maya 3D and make a model! That's just how I operate - and here is that 3D model of the Shaker hanging shelf:



With a plan in hand, I was off to buy wood and start construction. I opted for 1/2" poplar hobby boards from Home Depot to somewhat match the originals from Colonial Sense - plus it was pretty much all I could easily find in a 1/2" hardwood. Obligatory constructions pictures incoming!

All pieces ripped & cut to length, rough fit here.

To scale profile templates created from my 3D model.

Profile template transferred to a side piece.

Side piece profile cut with a jigsaw.

Laying out the peg holes on the hanging pieces.

All profiles cut, time to build!

Moving onto joinery. Initially I had visions of dovetails or tongue and groove joints brining these pieces together, but in the end I didn't want to sink that time into the project so I opted for brad nails and glue.

Bradded and glued together.

To finish up I applied a black cherry oil based stain and then some high build water based polyurethane.

The stain takes on an interesting purple hue over the green-ish poplar.

And that wraps up this project - lots of work, photos and words for a small shelf to hold paper towels? Absolutely. What's that you say, "Hey dummy, why didn't you just get a cheap-ass $10 paper towel holder from Amazon?"

Too easy...

Once again, overcomplicating is kind of my thing. Plus this holds other stuff too, like battery chargers, running headlamps, etc. Excellent!

Much better :-)
Owen Soule

Published February 15, 2021